How many of you have received a threatening phone call in the past 12 months demanding payment of an amount that you are sure you don’t owe?
Statistics show that 90 per cent of people have been targeted by fraudsters and scammers.
The RCMP Scams and Frauds website lists all the scams that are currently out there. The frightening reality is that new ones are being invented every day.
They include identity theft, debit and credit card fraud, email fraud, telephone scams, charitable donation fraud, lottery winnings fraud, on-line shopping fraud, investments and securities fraud and counterfeit money.
It seems that our culture has moved away from the concept of ‘A Day’s Work, A Day’s Pay’ and is more focused on how to get the ‘easy money.’ With respect to the Canada Revenue Agency, there are two scams that are currently a concern—telephone and email scams.
In my office, I have received reports that the people on the phone are very aggressive, even so far as threatening people with prison and bodily harm.
Unfortunately, many seniors are confronted by those kinds of threats.
If you are sure that you don’t owe any tax, then the call is definitely a scam.
You can always call your accountant to make sure that there is no balance owing.
If you get one of these calls and you are wondering if it’s genuine, ask for the agent number.
Every CRA employee has an agent number.
Then once you get the agent number tell them that you will call them back on the CRA general line (1-800-959-8281). If they refuse to give you their agent number, or give you a fictitious one, you can check with someone at the CRA general line.
If this person is requesting payment via a credit card, CRA personnel cannot process credit card payments directly so this is fraud.
How do you report this? You can report it to your local RCMP detachment as well as the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.
You can also contact you MP or MLA and the Canada Revenue Agency at 1-800-959-8281.
Both the RCMP and the CRA website have a fraud section, so you can learn how to protect yourself.
The rule of thumb always is don’t give out any personal information about your finances on the phone.
Some CRA collection officers may be pretty aggressive, but by the time you receive a phone call from them, you would have already received several letters indicating that you have an outstanding balance and told to expect to receive a followup call.
If you receive an email demanding payment from CRA, then it is a scam.
CRA personnel do not email anyone directly.
The only access to receive online mail is through the My Account or My Business Account option directly through the CRA website. You may receive an email indicating that you have mail, but you would then need to log into your account with CRA in order to retrieve it.